Government Accepts National Wages Council’s Recommendations For 2013/2014

1. The Government has accepted the National Wages Council (NWC)’s recommendations for 2013/2014.

2. The Government endorses the NWC’s focus of its 2013/2014 guidelines to raise real wages for workers by improving productivity, and to achieve higher wages for low-wage workers.

3. In particular, the Government supports the NWC’s move to build on the momentum generated further to its recommendation last year to give low-wage workers larger built-in wage increases. The Government recognises the need to complement its efforts to upskill and uplift this group of workers with the direct commitment of employers to improve their wages. It also recognises that for the NWC recommendation to be effective, buyers of outsourced services will also need to play a part. The Government will lead by example, not only as an employer but also a service buyer. It will also continue to take reference from the NWC guidelines in its annual wage adjustment exercise. The Government will also strongly encourage service suppliers to the public sector to adopt NWC recommendations on wage increments for their workers.

4. The NWC has recommended that real wage increases should be in line with productivity growth over the long term, and that employers should share productivity gains fairly with workers and in a sustainable manner. The Government strongly supports this guideline, and urges companies, unions and workers to work together towards this goal.

5. Quality growth driven by productivity and innovation is important if our economy is to restructure towards higher value-added activities, and generate higher wages for our workers. Employee skills and training will also need to be kept relevant for us to remain competitive. The Government today provides a range of support to help the industry make productivity improvements and our workforce stay right-skilled and resilient. The Quality Growth Programme announced in the 2013 Budget and the 3-year $5.3billion Transition Support Package provide further assistance for our companies to manage this period of restructuring. Companies should make full use of the various funding and assistance programmes available.

6. Over the years, strong tripartite support has ensured that NWC wage guidelines have been implemented to reward workers for their contributions while at the same time helping our companies remain resilient and competitive. This balanced approach is essential for the continued progress of our nation and to achieving shared and inclusive growth. The Government is confident that with the commitment of the tripartite partners, the 2013/14 NWC guidelines will be successfully implemented.

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